Alfonso Celis Jr. joins Force India as development driver

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Force India has confirmed the signing of Mexican youngster Alfonso Celis Jr. as a development driver.

Celis has raced in a number of European junior championships over the past three years, balancing commitments in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP3 in 2015.

The 19-year-old picked up his first podium in GP3 at Spa in August, and will now enjoy his first Formula 1 test with Force India in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.

Force India also confirmed that Celis will take part in seven F1 practice sessions in 2016, as well as completing simulator work for the team.

“Ever since I started racing I’ve been dreaming of Formula 1, so it’s a huge honour to begin working with Sahara Force India,” Celis said.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for me to learn about Formula One and to work closely with the engineers and race drivers.

“Being on the track in Abu Dhabi will be an incredible feeling. It’s going to be the biggest moment in my career and I am fully focussed on doing a good job for the team.”

Force India owner Vijay Mallya was pleased to welcome Celis to the team, believing that he can gain invaluable experience working under full-time drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez in 2016.

“I would like to welcome Alfonso to the team and wish him well ahead of his debut with us in Abu Dhabi,” Mallya said.

“As our development driver we will work hard to prepare him for the demands of driving in Formula 1 and provide a good grounding in all aspects of the job.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for Alfonso to learn from Sergio and Nico, and to get valuable mileage in the car.”